It’s never my life in danger.
But it’s frequently my husband's that teeters around that thin blue line.
Steve wakes up in the morning around seven am. If he’s downstairs first, he makes the coffee. Otherwise, I have it ready for him. He uses the same coffee cup every morning. I bought it for him when we were expecting, and it says “Best Dad Ever.” Because he is.
We sit on the couch in the silence of our living room. Unless, of course, YouTube is playing nursery songs and Children’s Bible songs for our one-year-old son. Isaiah is a spitting image of his father. It’s uncanny, really, as he sits on his dad’s lap, my husband staring down at him, with his fresh cup of coffee on the folding end table next to them both.
We don’t always have breakfast, but when we do, it’s typically either frozen scones or scrambled eggs. My matching target coffee cup that I use every day accurately says, “Mama Needs Some Coffee.” Because I do.
Isaiah and I wave “Buh-bye” to daddy as Steve leaves our home somewhere between 9:07 and more like 9:16 if he’s running a little late. If the Wisconsin roads are decent (usually in the winter they are not), he bypasses his dream, manly, truck in the garage and heads to our small garage to drive his dad’s old Kia Rio. His commute is an hour long to and from work.
As a police officer, he walks between life and death each shift. He walks amidst honor and amidst hatred. He wears a badge of responsibility, authority, and power.
He sees it all. He hears it all. And he is there.
He’s there for the minor complaints, he’s there for the accidents, he’s there for the thefts, and he’s there in the terror of shootings.
And yet, among recent media outbreaks and stereotypical stigmas that my husband faces in extreme occasions daily, he remains honorable and true to his commitment in his career; to protect and to serve.
He serves with respect.
He serves with dignity.
And yet, most times, on most occasions people don’t see him. People don’t see him as a person. His humanity becomes stripped away when he puts on his uniform.
Fortunately, there are many people who acknowledge, encourage, and give wonderful respect and support.
Unfortunately, the former is more loudly and widely heard. That’s all part of his chosen profession.
As is risking his life.
So tonight as I tucked our son to bed, having been in the safety of our home all day, the dreaded text message comes as a hard and harsh reality of the danger that Steve walks into day in and day out. As I read his message that he has been in a dangerous situation, that it’s now over, and that he’s okay, I’m jolted into the life of a police officer spouse. The what-if’s plague my mind, and I am reminded that each day is a gift. That safety is a gift. And that the protection of our law-enforcement is one that I all too take for granted.
I stare at the sunset. Barefoot in the crisp of the nearing-fall evening and I think of my husband. I think of God’s provision. I thank the Lord for his safety. And I trust that even if the worst what-if’s would happen, God is sovereign and I am honored and proud of the service that He is enabling my husband- and other police officers out there- to do.
Therefore, when his Kia pulls in the driveway tonight somewhere between 9:48 and 9:53pm, when our two german shepherds bark in anticipation of him being home (and I inwardly cringe and pray that the dogs don't wake our baby boy up), I'll be here.
Here feeling an extra dose of gratitude.
And here I wait.
I'm waiting to give him a deep kiss and welcome him home. Because today could have been the maybe, possibly, what if he didn't come home ever again.
And, in the morning, if he's up sooner than I am, he will make the coffee. We probably won't have breakfast again. And Isaiah and I will wave "Buh-bye" as I ever-the-more-diligently pray that he will come home again safe.
My husband's name is Steve, and I am proud and humbled that he is a police officer.